Kavon Zamanian: Bombsquad Longboarder

Kavon is a man of many talents. He tells us about the early days starting out in Oklahoma, moving to Texas and becoming the Bombsquad Longboarding media guy. Enjoy.

pierre carbuccia photo

pierre carbuccia photo

Hello Kavon, how are you?
Hey bro, I’m doing swell. Yourself?

Super. How was your weekend?
Awesome! Recently returned from Davis City Downhill. Had a blast with the homies, new and old.

Where is Davis City?
It’s a small town in the middle of nowhere in Southern Oklahoma

Fun race?
Very fun! Not too fast but very steep and technical. Janky pave made things all the more interesting.

Kyle Ramsey photo

Kyle Ramsey photo

Did you win?
Unfortunately not, but luckily Chubbs managed to take it for Bombsquad.

Is the beginning of a calendar of sanctioned NoCoast races?
Kyle Ramsey is the guy who usually gets NoCoast events going, and from what I know he has some stuff in mind for this year. Machado 3 and a Judge Race should be going down.

Where are you from?
Born and raised in DFW, though I spent two years at Oklahoma State University. I recently moved back to DFW.

Fun place to grow up?
More or less. Not so much for a downhill skateboarder, but if you like parks, DFW is a great place to be.

Did skating meet you in Oklahoma?
I picked up a big board near the end of high school and was still learning the basics when I moved to Oklahoma for school. There I met Dave Atess, Andrew Pletan, Gerrit Hoover, Gabe Shipley, and Colin Palmer; the guys who taught me how to skate a road properly.

Chris Hultner photo

Chris Hultner photo

What kind of skating were you doing in the early days?
I shortboarded a bit, but didn’t learn much outside of the very basics. I’m enjoying it more now though, especially with all these parks popping up in DFW.

What park features give you the biggest smiles?
I’m still fairly limited, but mini ramps and small ledges give me the most smiles.

How did meeting the Gnome squad change skating for you?
At the time I don’t know if it was a gnomesquad; this was before the whole gnome thing got out of hand. However, the Stillwater guys blew my mind with stand up slides and flowy style. We had mellow hills, but they pushed me to skate harder than I normally would, and taught me how to skate smoother and faster. I wouldn’t be where I am today with out ol’ SLC.

What is ‘’the whole gnome thing’’?
It started when a few of us realized his burnt orange Honda Fit was a gnome-esque vehicle. Dave seemed pretty gnomey too, and so the nickname began. He embraced it and now he’s just gnomed out off the scale.

Gnomemobile. Kyle Ramsey photo

Gnomemobile. Kyle Ramsey photo

Was it scary skating so far outside your comfort zone?
Of course! But that made it more fun and made me progress much faster than I otherwise would. What’s downhill skateboarding without being scared sometimes?

“What’s downhill skateboarding without being scared sometimes?”

What was the hardest thing to learn?
How to make skating in Stillwater fun.

What adventures did you have in those 2 years?
Lots of skate trips to increasingly further spots in attempt to find better hills. Gradually met the NoCoast community and had some often disastrous journeys with the occasional hospital trips. Nothing TOO out of the ordinary for a bunch of skateboarders but definitely some fun times. Most of the crew has either quit skating or moved all over the place at this point though.

katlyn beachy photo

katlyn beachy photo

Have you ever been to hospital?
Not for skateboarding; actually not for any major injuries since I was a little kid. I’ve been pretty lucky thus far, no broken bones yet. (Knock on wood). I’ve made some trips to hospitals for friends for sure, so hopefully it’s not my turn anytime soon.

How close in the NoCoast community?
NoCoast has to have one of the best communities. It’s generally a consistent group of people with a few more showing up each time. The usuals come from Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, and elsewhere. It’s great to see such a variety of styles that can only develop across distances like this. While having a far-spread community can suck at times, it’s also more interesting than the usual local communities.

Does having no water around make you different?
I don’t think so. I have lakes, which is enough water for me!

Kyle Ramsey photo

Kyle Ramsey photo

What were you riding while you were in Stoklahoma?
I started on Landyachtz and Comets, then rode for CR Boardworks for a bit up until Bombsquad. Rode Calibers and varying wheels up until I rode Buzzed.

What is a CR Boardwork?
A very small company from Michigan that was my first ‘sponsor’. They have a bit of a bad rep now for not giving photo cred in advertisements and not fulfilling board orders prepaid by other companies. I don’t like to talk about them too much.

Was getting sponsored a life objective?
Not at all. I mean, most people would like to be sponsored, but I just skated to see how much I could improve. I was definitely quick to jump to decisions at first… but sponsors are supposed to make skating opportunities more available; they shouldn’t be a reason to skate.

“…sponsors are supposed to make skating opportunities more available; they shouldn’t be a reason to skate.”

Is the support or recognition more important to you?
Support for sure. However, I think the coolest part of riding for a company is having input to the product outcome, no matter how little it may be.

Barrandey photo

Barrandey photo

What difference does the support make to the fun you can have?
Being a college student, I do find it helpful for getting gear, but I don’t really think it changes skating too much. It should be fun no matter what! The obvious exception to this is travel budgets, which I assume make skating a lot more fun.

What products have you been able to influence?
I haven’t had a big impact on anything, but most of my sponsors are always listening for input from their riders to improve where possible. Having been with Bombsquad the longest, I’d assume to have influenced them the most if at all.

What was the highlight of your time in Oklahoma?
I like to think the golden days of Oklahoma skating were a little over a year ago when the Oklahoma City and Stillwater guys would gather for sessions. The OKC Trio Jason Machado, Josh Hughes, and Kyle Ramsey, is one of the most fun groups of dudes I’ve ever known. Not to mention, they were all fast and loved to get sketchy. Unfortunately, Jason had a serious accident last year, and him and Josh have mostly stuck to skating parks since then. I miss those days.

Drew Herring photo

Drew Herring photo

What’s your favourite thing to do on your board?
Skate down long turny roads with slides. The less hands down, the better.

Why did you leave OKC?
I actually lived in Stillwater, where Oklahoma State University is. I wasn’t feeling the school, and more importantly, decided to change majors. I’m now in Denton, Texas at the University of North Texas for the video program

What are you studying?
Radio Television Video Film, or RTVF for short. Specifically, I’d like to start a video production company after I graduate.

Are you a media genius?
If there is such a thing, I don’t think I am one. But I do enjoy it, and I hope to turn the hobby into a career.

Erick Barrandey photo

Erick Barrandey photo

What media do you consume most?
Good movies and skate videos.

What separates a good from average skate video?
Either some next level skating, unique style, or a twist in editing or filming that hasn’t been done yet. It’s becoming increasingly harder to come by now that the scene has exploded so much.

Hasn’t it all been done?
I don’t think so. Definitely not skating-wise. As for filming and editing, I think there will always be new takes on things, but they are becoming less prevalent for sure.

katlyn beachy photo

katlyn beachy photo

Have videos had any influence on the skater you are today?
Definitely! Like most people, I started with pretty wonky style, and watched a lot of videos of my favorite skaters to try and improve it. Videos got me hyped on certain slides and styles that very much impacted how I skate now.

Who do you enjoy watching?
My favourites would probably be Byron Essert and James Kelly. To me, nothing beats smooth Californian style.

Do you make any media?
I have a youtube channel, RedDirtMedia. I enjoy making skate videos most, but I do some freelance work and other stuff on the side.

What does RDM put out?
Usually NoCoast and Texas skaters wherever I happen to go film.

Kyle Ramsey photo

Kyle Ramsey photo

What do you try to show in your videos?
Some fast skating with silliness and a few editing tricks.

What are your weapons of choice?
I own the usual downhill film setup: Canon T3i with a telephoto and a Sigma wide-angle. Carmount and fig rig get the most use.

When did you move back to Texas?
Summer 2013.

Had you skated in Tx before that?
Yeah, whenever I visited home.

What did you get up to on your return?
Made some videos, got in some signature Dallas garage sessions, and started the habit of travelling as much as possible.

Dan Kelly photo

Dan Kelly photo

How important are garages to skating there?
The one cool thing Dallas has is good garages, so they get skated a lot in large groups. I wouldn’t say it’s important, but it’s something I’d recommend if you come to Dallas.

Where did you travel to last year?
Arkansas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico for skateboarding. Went to Utah and Dominican Republic with my family, and got some good skating done in DR.

Barrandey photo

Barrandey photo

Did you meet Pam Diaz?
We were going to session at some point but our schedules didn’t line up. Awesome locals took me to some cool tropical roads though.

What are you riding right now?
I’m riding a Bombsquad Pocket Ace Mini on Buzzed V3’s, Magics, Riot Bushings/Cups, and varying wheels.  I’m digging Metro Links and Venom Cannibals though. New Olders keeps my noggin safe.
skate face

How did you hook up with B/S?
Bombsquad is based out of Arlington, in DFW. I met Tanner and Wes here and there at sessions and it just kind of went from there.

What’s the minimum number of tattoos before joining the team?
So far, zero. Myself and a few others are tattoo-less, hopefully that doesn’t become a new rule!

Kula is bringing his gun in a couple of months, I’d like a bacon tattoo on your left shoulder!
Kula would probably do a killer bacon tattoo! The dude has talent.

How did you get on New Olders?
I bought a New Olders lid last summer and they used a photo of me for an advertisement. I asked them about it and things progressed on from there. They’ve since produced quite a few new shapes, and I’m stoked to be a part of the team.

Who else is on the team?
Caio Cezar, Douglas Dalua, Paulo Lins, Fabio Lock, Jonas Richter, and Georgia Bontorin.

How does the helmet compare to others you’ve tried?
I have yet to see another mass production helmet company provide the same construction quality as New Olders. They’re aero, safe, and I think my favorite feature is probably the field of view. Awesome vision with minimal fog. Super stoked on them and wouldn’t prefer any other lid.

Kyle Ramsey photo

Kyle Ramsey photo

What does it feel like to ride for a local company?
The best thing about Bombsquad being local is that most of my team mates live near me, so we’re a bit tighter knit than some of the more scattered teams. Having headquarters so close to my house is convenient as well since I can always swing by and see what’s in the works.

What’s your role in the family?
I’m primarily the media guy. When I’m not skating you’ll find me shooting and editing Bombsquad videos.

Do you have a favourite person to shoot?
In general, I’d say it’s a tie between Jonathan Bobo and Jared Henry. They both have really unique styles and always do something crazy (and different) in front of the lens.

Is Bombsquad different from other longboard companies?
Definitely. The style is really unique, and the owners are both men of many talents. It’s interesting to see how their automotive background and artistic skills apply to a board company.
YouTube Preview Image

What are your favourite boards in the lineup?
Pocket Ace and Battle Royale for sure, though that may soon change with the new stuff in the works.

What are you hoping for this year?
To make it to an IDF Race and/or Giants Head. I’d like to go to Canada.

What do you do when you’re not skating?
Film and edit stuff, lurk, play some video games.

Pick 3 numbers between 1-19.
3, 6, 9

3 – what crime are you most likely to go to prison for?
Probably skating somewhere I shouldn’t be.

6 – if you could have any super power what would it be?
Telekinesis for sure.

9 – what would you choose as your last meal?
Grilled cheese.

i dont remember whoKay Z, it has been super awesome talking to you. Thank you for sharing your story. Looking forward to seeing more of your videos!
Likewise, thanks for the fun interview!

Any last words?
Thanks to Bombsquad, Buzzed, Magic, Riot, New Olders, Carve, and Team NoBull for being so rad, and shout out to all the NoCoast and Texas homies for making the scene so damn fun.

Links.

www.youtube.com/user/reddirtmedia

www.bombsquadlongboarding.com

@kavonzamanian

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